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Chad Billingsley Looks to Keep the 9-1 Los Angeles Dodgers Rolling Tonight

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Once upon a time, it looked like Chad Billingsley would be the Los Angeles Dodger ace who’d be winning Cy Young Awards. Maybe now that Clayton Kershaw has accomplished that feat, Billingsley is able pitching with less pressure.

Then again, maybe he has just had a good pair of starts.

The former first round pick from Defiance, Ohio is 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 15 strikeouts against just one walk over 14.1 innings pitched. Obviously, he’s bound to slow from that pace, but if he can pitch like a legit No. 2 to complement Kershaw, the Dodgers could be for real.

In 2008, Billingsley ranked seventh in the National League in both wins (16) and ERA (3.14). He was also third in the NL in K/9 (9.02). Lately, he’s only been showing up in the top 10 in things like wild pitches, base on balls and hit batsmen.

Billingsley leads the Dodgers into Miller Park, where he has a 3.15 ERA and 1.15 Whip over 20 innings. Yovani Gallardo will be starting for the Milwaukee Brewers. He struggled in his first start, but gave up just one run over seven innings against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday.

The Dodgers have been baseball’s best team so far, boasting a 9-1 record. They’ve won six-straight, but the Brewers are their first opponent who had a winning record in 2011.Milwaukee is 4-6 and has four-consecutive losses. Both teams were off Monday.

Two other matchups stick out to me tonight are Wandy Rodriguez vs. Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto vs. Kyle Lohse. Not the biggest names, but all of those four guys are off to great starts.

Other high-profile pitchers starting today are CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Dan Haren, Ian Kennedy, Jon Lester, Madison Bumgarner, Ricky Romero and Josh Johnson.

Astros (Rodriguez) at Nationals (Gonzalez), 7:05 p.m. ET
Twins (Liriano) at Yankees (Sabathia), 7:05
Rays (Niemann) at Blue Jays (Romero), 7:07
Cubs (Dempster) at Marlins (Johnson), 7:10
Mets (Santana) at Braves (Delgado), 7:10
Rangers (Lewis) at Red Sox (Lester), 7:10
Orioles (Chen) at White Sox (Danks), 8:10
Tigers (Smyly) at Royals (Chen), 8:10
Dodgers (Billingsley) at Brewers (Gallardo), 8:10
Reds (Cueto) at Cardinals (Lohse), 8:15
Padres (Bass) at Rockies (Moyer), 8:40
Pirates (Karstens) at Diamondbacks (Kennedy), 9:40
Athletics (Ross) at Angels (Haren), 10:05
Indians (Masterson) at Mariners (Millwood), 10:10
Phillies (Blanton) at Giants (Bumgarner), 10:15

Pitching Primer, which previews the days’s pitching probables, is a regular feature on Rant Sports. It paint’s a picture of America’s Pastime’s potentially perfect matchups. If you’ve got a pedigree of predicting future aces, take pride in your penchant for pitching or have a poetic prose, please leave a comment. Pitching Primer is posted practically every morning by Tom Froemming, but he‘s no perfectionist. Plus, days off are primarily provided so the “p” on his keyboard can have a break.

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